Federal Health Officials Feel Optimistic about COVID-19 this Holiday Season

November 28, 2022

This time last year was the beginning of the largest surge of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., due to the Omicron variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that last year, for the week ending on November 24, 2021, the U.S. reported more than 600,000 new COVID-19 cases a week, a trend that led to a spike to a high of more than 5.5 million new cases per week by January 19, 2022. According to the most recent data available from the CDC, there were just over 300,000 new cases during the week ending on November 23, 2022, which is fewer than half the number of cases that were reported a year ago, and without a new and highly infectious strain like Omicron.

As reported on nytimes.com, federal health officials expressed optimism about the nation's preparedness to deal with a potential surge of COVID-19 infections, compared to last year. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden's chief medical advisor and current Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a position from which he announced he would step down from this coming December, was quoted saying he was hopeful that the combination of infections and vaccinations had created "enough community protection that we're not going to see a repeat of what we saw last year at this time."

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, was also quoted, saying, "Nothing I have seen in the subvariants makes me believe that we can't manage our way through it effectively, especially if people step up and get their vaccine."

Officials have emphasized that much of this optimism depends on individuals continuing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It was noted that many Americans have been reluctant to receive updated booster shots, and that so far, only 35 million people have received one of the revised shots from Moderna and Pfizer.

The Biden Administration has announced that $475 million will be invested in expanding vaccination efforts at community health centers and other locations, as well as in advertising during the World Cup.

Dr. Fauci stated, "My message and my final message - maybe the final message I give you from this podium - is that, please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you're eligible."

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